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by Abraham Merritt

Download The Moon Pool eBook
Abraham Merritt
Duckworth & Co (February 26, 2009)
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The publication of the following narrative of Dr. Walter T. Goodwinhas been authorized by the Executive Council of the tion of Science. All Dead!" III The Moon Rock IV The First Vanishings V Into the Moon Pool VI "The Shining Devil Took Them!" VII Larry O'Keefe VIII Olaf's Story IX A Lost Page of Earth X The Moon Pool XI The Flame-Tipped Shadows XII The End of the Journey XIII Yolara, Priestess of the Shining One XIV The Justice of Lora XV The Angry, Whispering Globe XVI Yolara of Muria vs. the O'Keefe XVII The Leprechaun XVIII The Amphitheatre of Jet XIX.

This much is sure-the moon door, which is clearly operated by theaction of moon rays upon some unknown element or combination and thecrystals through which the moon rays pour down upon the pool theirprismatic columns, are humanly made mechanisms. So long as they arehumanly made, and so long as it is this flood of moonlight from whichthe Dweller draws its power of materialization, the Dweller itself, ifnot the product of the human mind, is at least dependent upon theproduct of the human mind for its appearance.

The Building of the Moon Pool. She paused, running her long fingers through her own ts. When it was done they moved up the path, clustering within the MoonPool Chamber.

LibriVox recording of The Moon Pool by Abraham Merritt. We’re dedicated to reader privacy so we never track you.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature. Abraham Merritt’s The Moon Pool was originally published as two stories in All-Story Weekly ( The Moon Pool and Conquest of the Moon Pool ) and combined into a novel in 1919.

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Now we were among the mangroves and, sail down, the three of us pushed and pulled the boat through their tangled roots and branches. The noise of our passing split the silence like a profanation, and from the ancient bastions came murmurs-forbidding, strangely sinister.

First Avon Printing, 1951 Third Printing. The publication of the following narrative of Dr. Goodwin has been authorized by the Executive Council of the International Association of Science.

Abraham Merritt (1884-1943) A. Merritt was the working name of American writer Abraham Grace Merritt. One of the most popular genre writers of his time, he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1999. Although primarily a journalist, he published nine novels and a number of short stories. Merritt was an influence on both H. P. Lovecraft and Richard Shaver.

  • Llbery
If you are a fan of the Edgar Rice Burroughs style of science fiction, you will enjoy the Moon Pool. All the men are either handsome, brave and loyal or craven cowards. The women are spectacularly lovely or hags. They, too are either paragons of virtue or icy villainesses. Supernatural entities abound and the action ranges for the skies over the South Pacific to subterranean civilizations. Of course the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Very wordy, but retro fun!
  • Whiteflame
This book is only interesting in that the introduction talks about how "Lost" may have been based on it...loosely. the edition is modern and filled with bad editing. words are strung together or repeated, ship names which should be italicised sometimes are not or only certain letters are while the rest are not, names are inconsistently spelled in a few instances. you might be better off getting a scanned POD of this, but check the publisher first to make sure it's not an OCR rendering which far too many times are just as filled with errors due to the OCR reader not interpreting the letters correctly.
  • Yramede
This is a replacement copy. I finely wore the orginal copy out. Great novel for those who like the abstrack and mind bending endings.
  • Karg
There are very few books I can't actually finish, and this was one of them. Imagine "John Carter" without the action and swashbuckling, starring Jar Jar Binks as the romantic hero, narrated in prose that's not so much purple as ultraviolet, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this book was like. Reading it was actually painful.

I picked it up because I'd read that it influenced H.P. Lovecraft, and it started out promisingly enough. A creepy, insubstantial being made of light, called “the Dweller,” is causing people in the Pacific to disappear. The Dweller comes from a secret tunnel in the ruins of Nan Madol, which opens by way of the titular Moon Pool (so-called because the light of the full moon on it triggers its opening). The narrator, Dr. Goodwin, sails for Nan Madol to investigate the disappearances. On the way, he picks up a Norwegian sailor who lost his wife and daughter to the Dweller, as well as one of the most annoying characters in sci-fi and fantasy (more on him later). This part of the book had a nice, eerie atmosphere, and I was as anxious to solve the mystery as Goodwin was. I was expecting everything to lead up to some huge, cosmic horror, like in "The Call of Cthulhu": ancient aliens, evil lost civilizations, people going insane, the works. Well, there were no aliens, the lost civilization wasn't so much evil as it was one giant cliché, and the only person who was in danger of going insane was me--not through fear, but through sheer irritation.

The heroes arrive at Nan Madol, manage to open the door to the secret tunnel by themselves thanks to light scattering and technobabble, and meet an evil Russian scientist who wants to use the technology of the Moon Pool to help fuel a worldwide Communist revolution (because of course he does). Once inside, they travel down towards the center of the Earth, landing on the lost continent of Muria. And it's all downhill from there. Or rather, it drops as fast as the machine the heroes rode down towards Muria, crashes and burns at the bottom, and remains in a fiery, twisted wreck for the rest of the book.

The civilization of Muria is a pastiche of "decadent civilization" clichés. Beautiful, scantily-clad women. Men who use swords despite being light-years ahead of current civilization in technology. Divans and cushions (real, manly men sit on chairs, after all). Buildings made of jewels. Human sacrifice. A ruling class of cruel but stupid people. An underclass of slaves who are apparently miserable, but who somehow can't conduct a revolution without help from the Pompous White Explorers. At the point where I stopped, I hadn't come across the inevitable gladiatorial combats or the duels to the death over the love interest. No doubt those come up later in the book.

Was there ever a time when the "decadent, barbarous alien civilization" trope WASN'T a cliché? Do the explorers in these books and movies ever come across an alien or lost civilization that's NOT based on ancient Rome/ancient Greece/ancient Egypt/the Arabian Nights/the generic "Orient," or that's NOT decadent/barbarous/can-only-be-saved-by-our-superior-WHITENESS-and-DEMOCRACY? Was H.G. Wells really the only sci-fi author during this time who thought of making the ALIENS stand-ins for European imperialists?

I was expecting 1910s racism, sexism, and xenophobia. But somehow A. Merritt managed to make them even worse than usual. How about the fact that Muria, despite apparently giving rise to the modern-day Polynesian peoples (or at least their languages), is entirely populated by pasty-white people? Its ruling class is even made up of blonds. No proud histories or ancient civilizations for you, non-whites! How about the fact that “The Moon Pool” not only has Superstitious Non-Whites, but Superstitious Non-Americans? Seriously, even the European characters in this book are superstitious. There's a Portuguese captain who's afraid to go to Nan Madol because of its supernatural powers. The Norwegian sailor constantly raves about trolls, devils, and the Norse gods. And the most annoying character, who's Irish-American, acts rational like the narrator half the time and blathers about banshees and leprechauns the other half of the time. Hell, even the evil Russian Communist hardly lives up to his ideology, since he's the member of a cult that worships an ancient Polynesian god.

Or how about the portrayal of women? The only four non-Murian women mentioned are already dead when the story opens. The love interest has only appeared twice and has managed to win the "hero's" heart by having golden eyes and incredibly white breasts (seriously), as well as giving him a dopey smile (at least I picture it as a dopey smile; it wasn't described that way in the text). And the evil, powerful priestess of the Dweller, Yolara, not only gets compared to a mischievous child, but is more interested in having sex with the "hero" than being a priestess or getting the intruders out of Muria, which you'd think would be her two primary concerns.

And speaking of the “hero” finally brings me to the worst part of the book, the main reason I quit reading it, the black hole of annoyance that sucks everything else into it: Larry O’Keefe.

Oh, Larry, Larry. In a modern story, he would either be the unfunny comic-relief sidekick, or the victim in a horror movie whose grisly death the audience cheers for. Sadly, things were different in 1919. So Larry is not only the designated romantic hero, but the story’s Gary Stu, whose praises are sung by Goodwin on every single page. As soon as Larry described his history, I had a strong feeling I was going to hate him:

“ ‘Educated a bit at Eton, a bit at Harvard; always too much money to have to make any; in love lots of times, and never a heartache after that wasn't a pleasant one, and never a real purpose in life until I took the king's shilling and earned my wings; something over thirty—and that's me—Larry O'Keefe.’"

So…a rich, spoiled brat who basically bummed around in life until he decided to join the RAF in his thirties. Yeah, this guy sounds like a real winner. Goodwin says the same thing, but unfortunately, he’s not being sarcastic.

Larry rivals characters like Bella Swan and Christian Grey in being the exact opposite of what the narrator tells us he is. He’s supposedly brave and fearless, when he’s really stupid and reckless and actively goes LOOKING for danger (which is mind-boggling, considering he supposedly served in World War I). He’s supposedly a ladies’ man and a real charmer, when here’s how he talks about the Murian women to his companions:

"’She was a girl, a wonder girl—a real girl, and Irish, or I'm not an O'Keefe!’"

"’I was thinking about that frog. I think it was her pet. Damn me if I see any difference between a frog and a snake, and one of the nicest women I ever knew had two pet pythons that followed her around like kittens…Anyway, any pet that girl wants is hers, I don't care if it's a leaping twelve-toed lobster or a whale-bodied scorpion. Get me?’"

"’Nowhere to go but out!...And I'll bet Golden Eyes is waiting for us with a taxi!’"

"’Some giddy wonder!...Put her on a New York roof and she'd empty Broadway.’”

"’She's a devil-ess from hell—but a wonder. Whenever I find myself going I get her to sing that… and I'm back again—pronto—with the right perspective! POP goes all the mystery! 'Hell!' I say, 'she's only a woman!'"

And his flirting is no better. He addresses Yolara as “O lady, whose eyes are like forest pools at dawn,” “O lady, whose voice is sweeter than the honey of wild bees,” and worst of all, “O lady whose shining hair is a web for hearts, that in our world your beauty would dazzle the sight of men as would a little woman sun”. While most women, from a fantasy world or not, would probably crack up if they had to listen to this idiocy, Yolara eats it up with a spoon! She’s actually FLATTERED by it! And it’s not meant to show vain and egotistical Yolara is, but how skilled Larry is at wooing the ladies. Yeah. And you thought modern pick-up lines were awful.

Whether Larry’s getting into dangerous situations, flirting, or just sitting around cracking unfunny jokes, he never stops being annoying. He always speaks in a headache-inducing mixture of 1910s American slang and a fake Irish brogue. Whenever anything interesting, awe-inspiring, or horrifying happens, he’s right there to ruin the impact on the readers by offering a “witty” comment on it. AND HE NEVER, EVER SHUTS UP.

“’ "Some little shoot-the-chutes, what?" he shouted. ‘Say—if they had this at Coney Island or the Crystal Palace!’”

"’Listen, Olaf!" said Larry. ‘Cut out that Trolldom stuff! There's no Trolldom, or fairies, outside Ireland. Get that! And this isn't Ireland. And, buck up, Professor!’ This to Marakinoff. "What you see down there are people—just plain people. And wherever there's people is where I live. Get me?’”

"’Oh, come on, Doc!’ cried Larry. ‘As long as we're here let's see the sights. Allons mon vieux!" he called gaily to the green dwarf.’”

“’But by the brogans of Brian Boru—if we could have had some of that stuff to turn on during the war—oh, boy!’" (He’s talking about a disintegrating ray. I know “oh, boy!” is always my go-to response when discussing terrifying weapons.)

"’And as for the [Dweller]—Say!’ he snorted. ‘I'd like to set the O'Keefe banshee up against it. I'll bet that old resourceful Irish body would give it the first three bites and a strangle hold and wallop it before it knew it had 'em. Oh! Wow! Boy Howdy!’” (Yes, he really did use the words “Boy Howdy” non-ironically.)

And this continues throughout the whole book, with hardly a break. I almost couldn’t pay attention to the rest of the story, between hating Larry, wishing he would die, and thinking, “Shut up, shut up, shut up…” over and over. Then I reached the part where Larry jumps in front of the Dweller to keep it from carrying off the Norwegian sailor, and it’s Larry’s act of bravery that inspires the lower class to start their revolution. And then I got to the part where Yolara, who’s supposedly a powerful priestess, who can CONTROL the Dweller with a word, starts calling Larry “My lord,” acts submissive to him, and apparently binds herself to him in a betrothal ceremony. At that point, I was done. The constant Larry-shilling utterly killed any possible interest this book still might have held for me.

I mean, good God, at least Jar Jar Binks was MEANT to be comic relief and not a dashing, brave, romantic hero. At least John Carter wasn’t constantly yelling about everything he saw on Mars and comparing it to irrelevant stuff in New York and Ireland. If Larry O’Keefe is not the worst Gary Stu I’ve ever seen, he’s the one I’ve most wanted to gag, or knock out. Not even Terry Goodkind’s Richard Rahl annoyed me so much.
I can see just one thing H.P. Lovecraft took from this book: a sunken city as the remnant of a lost, ancient civilization. Everything else is just clichéd science fantasy pulp, with nothing that makes it better than the rest, and one character that makes it decidedly worse than the rest.
  • Binthars
The Moon Pool is a 1919 "lost world" fantasy novel by Abraham Merritt based on two of his short stories. Here, a scientist leads a small band beneath the surface of the Earth in pursuit of others abducted by an evil entity called "the Shining One," whereupon they discover a lost civilization on the brink of war.

Merritt's writing is wonderfully imaginative and extraordinarily detailed. His ideas, his places, his devices, and his underground world are enthralling. The Moon Pool does have a certain charm. And yet the writing has a lot of problems.

Pacing is the most egregious issue. The book crawls in many places, and for long stretches. This shouldn't be; there's plenty happening in the story, but Merritt's writing ranges between verbose and extremely verbose. The storytelling is further hampered by a cast of flattish characters spouting corny dialogue, a great deal of which neither develops the characters in meaningful ways nor moves the story along.

Merritt devotes paragraph upon paragraph to his vivid descriptions of subterranean wonders, and yet the reader's sense of place is often poor, as Merritt can scarcely ever be bothered to tell the reader where, specifically, his characters are, or where that might be in relation to the other places he's depicted.

There are other issues. It's painfully convenient how quickly all the characters learn the subterranean language. Much of the mystery of the underground world isn't resolved until much too late in the book, and then by way of a massive expository dump. The book's climax, an epic clash between warring factions, should be exciting, but the resolutions are clichéd and predictable.

The Moon Pool has been cited as an influence on Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu." As far as horrific creatures emerging from lost cities beneath the sea to ravage humanity go, that seems reasonable. Beyond some basic thematic similarities, however, there's really no comparison.

Merritt isn't read a great deal these days, and now you know why. On the whole, The Moon Pool feels like a missed opportunity, and it's too bad. As it is, there are no doubt plenty of better books in the genre. And yet...The Moon Pool would probably make a pretty good film.